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Loving the Kids: School Bonds or Bondage

We have officially entered into a change of seasons.  If you are like me you can appreciate almost everything that comes with fall; from the cooler weather, to the anticipation of the holidays, or to thosebeloved November elections….hey, I said almost.  As much as I hate to admit it even the political cycle seems to return every fall.  Sadly, it doesn’t matter who wins for nothing seems to change.  After some reflection about what difference any investment of my precious time was making, I decided this year to pay closer attention to local politics.  For me, this meant focusing my attention on what was happening from Liberty to Austin, TX.  Changing Washington is beyond me and probably beyond changing outside of an act of Providence.  It is in this mindset that I recently stumbled across the wickedness of a school bond that will be on our local ballot in November.  This bond is not only fiscally ignorant, but morally evil.  Lest you think I am being too harsh in my opinion of this bond allow me to make my case.    

First we need to ask, “what exactly is a bond?” According to Wikipedia, “a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. Thus a bond is a form of loan: the holder of the bond is the lender (creditor), the issuer of the bond is the borrower (debtor), and the coupon is the interest.”[1]  In short, a bond is a loan or new debt.  In this case, the bond being sought after is the school district seeking to borrow money they do not have on behalf of the citizens upon the promise of future taxation.  Allow that statement to sink in for a minute.  The fact that most school districts regularly take advantage of bond debt should not cloud our understanding to the dangerous nature of taking on new debt.  Any household, business or community that wants to financially survive would be wise to consider the full implications of taking a loan before making their decision.  A few questions to ask might include: what do we need so urgently that we must take a loan to get?  What is it going to cost us?  Do we have the ability to repay this loan?  What happens if we can’t afford to repay it?  For Dayton ISD the urgent needs include 6 lighted tennis courts, concrete parking for buses, a new auditorium, a new practice gym, and a roof for the rodeo arena, etc.[2]   This particular loan for the citizens of the small rural community of Dayton, TX is to the tune of $87 million.  Once the interest is accounted for the total debt climbs up to neighborhood of $150 million.  Apparently the “community advisors” for Dayton ISD either didn’t ask these questions or came up with answers not based in reality.   Either way, they were led to the conclusion that this was indeed a wise decision for the community to get this loan.  One has to wonder if these folks would make the same decision on a personal level if it was exclusively their money being spent.  Would they personally take a loan to pay for lighted tennis courts?  Not likely.  So why do they think this community should?  One answer they give is because of the projected future growth.  What happens in the likely scenario[3] that the projected growth doesn’t reach their expectations?  Will the debt be forgiven? No!  The taxpayers and businesses of this rural community will be faced with a financial train wreck that is unavoidable.  They’ll be forced to split the bill.                

 Aside from being an unwise decision it is also an immoral one.[4]  While the Bible does allow for debt under certain circumstances, it is always to be done God’s way.  This means following the restrictions and limitations He has put in place when taking on debt.  Taking a loan is a voluntary act of submission that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As Proverbs 22 states, “the borrower is the servant to the lender.”[5]  To voluntarily take on debt is to make oneself a servant or slave to the debt and debt holder.   Paul said to the slave “if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.”[6] The inspired Word of God is clear that when there is a choice between economic freedom or slavery we ought to choose freedom.  God never expects His people to go into debt for their desires.  Extreme debt should only to be taken on in an extreme need.  I am confident in my assertion that tennis courts do not fall into the category of extreme need, but are rather a desire.  Another limitation on debt is: it must be a voluntary act.  It can never be forced on people that don’t want it.  How anyone could think that God would be pleased with people forcing their neighbors to take a loan is beyond me.  The fact that a local pastor would advocate such a position reveals his poor understanding of scripture.  To forcibly take something from your neighbor that he is unwilling to give is theft.  It is a violation of the 8th commandment.  For any group of people to vote to take other people’s money for their own purposes is simply theft by mob.  It is disregarding Christ’s command to “love our neighbor as ourselves”[7]  Sure it may be legal, but it is against God’s law and therefore is wrong.  The legality of abortion never made it the right thing to do.  This debt is not being sought on behalf of the school board, but instead on behalf of the taxpayers and their children.  Remember our description from earlier, “the bond loan being asked is the school district borrowing money they do not have on behalf of the citizens upon the promise of future taxation.” 

What about the children?  Do we not have a moral obligation to our children?  Yes, actually we do and this bondage is not it.  The Bible states that “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”[8]  Those that are pushing for this debt are literally leaving an inheritance of economic slavery to the kids all while doing it in the name of “for the kids.”  Shouldn’t we love our children?  Of course, but one has to ask, “what does that look like?”  Romans 13:8 says we are to “owe nothing to any man, but to love one another.”  Here is a two fold instruction.  First owe nothing (i.e; avoid debt) with the exception of love.  What is love?  The passage continues, “for he that loves another, has fulfilled the Law.”  To love is to keep God’s law in regards to your neighbor or your children.  To break God’s law by forcing debt upon them, robbing their inheritance, stealing their future income, and inheriting to them an economic slavery is anything but love.  It is in fact a wicked act.  

Will the people of this community consider this debt in light of God’s Word?  I truly hope so, but if their pastors don’t know better they probably don’t either.  We will try our best to change minds, but chances are things will remain the same until people return to God’s Word as the true source of all knowledge and wisdom.  I look forward to that season with a greater anticipation than I do towards fall.                                    


[3] 2003-2013 has shown decrease in population by 1.8 %

[4] As a Christian I base all morality on the Bible

[5] Proverbs 22:7

[6] 1 Corinthians 7:21

[7] Matthew 22:39

[8] Proverbs 13:22

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